Live Gallery: Macklemore at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 11.05.2024


I am at the bustling Hordern Pavilion in Sydney tonight, awaiting Seattle-based rapper Macklemore’s (aka Benjamin Hammond Haggerty) performance. The air is thick with anticipation as fans of all ages gather to witness the magic of one of hip-hop’s most distinctive voices. Macklemore, who first soared to fame with his hit album ‘The Heist,’ (2012) has consistently pushed the boundaries of his artistry. Over the years, he has garnered a reputation for tackling diverse themes in his music, from addiction and recovery to social justice, resonating deeply with a global audience. However, Macklemore has not been without his critics—some have cast doubt on his intentions, and after an ill advised costume choice for a concert at the opening of the EMP Museum in Seattle he was accused of antisemitism, which he has fervently denied.

Tonight, whilst Macklemore is set to perform tracks from his illustrious career, many in the audience are keen to hear him play his latest release, ‘Hind’s Hall‘ live. This new track delves into the complex issue of the conflict in Palestine, showcasing his commitment to addressing challenging topics. ‘Hind’s Hall’ has quickly become a sensation on the internet, sparking discussions and debates across social media platforms. Fans and critics alike are drawn not only to the raw emotion and storytelling in the song but also to its timely and provocative subject matter. Even Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine has tweeted about it.

There is a woman holding up a sign that says she has travelled 8262 miles to see him. The concert kicks off with ‘Chant’ from Macklemore’s 2023 album ‘BEN.’ The background video features scenes of well known Australian landmarks. Tone & I makes a surprise guest appearance to the delight of the crowd. Clad in a satin silver bomber jacket Macklemore is accompanied by a troupe of dancers and musicians who all seem to be having a great time.

Discarding the bomber jacket and donning a massive fur coat, he dives into ‘Thrift Shop’ and the audience goes off! As he raps his way through the song that helped catapult him to fame, (a collaboration with Ryan Lewis,) the audience simply loses its shit. They shout the lyrics back at him so loudly that, at times, he simply steps back and lets them take the lead. During the chaos, Macklemore recognises the lady with the sign in the crowd.

He charms the crowd by telling them how much he loves Sydney although he does admit that he is a bit disappointed by the rain that has been falling for nearly two weeks solid now. Amidst his set, he playfully sprays the audience with water from toy hoses, adding a touch of whimsy to the wet weather. He confides in the crowd about his childhood dream of becoming a musician, expressing gratitude that this dream has manifested into his reality. He tells us that the Hordern tonight should be a sanctuary of love, regardless of race, creed, sexuality, or religion.

As the familiar strains of ‘Same Love’ fill the air, my mind flashes back to Macklemore’s last brush with controversy—strangely local and distant now. Back in 2017, figures like Tony Abbott tried to have him banned from performing this very song at the NRL Grand Final. Tonight, that uproar feels like an echo from another world, utterly out of step with the crowd who belt out this anthem heartily alongside him, united and undeterred.

Since Macklemore dropped ‘Hind’s Hall,’ the debate has simmered: Is music a suitable vessel for socio-political commentary? Should artists weigh in on the complexities of issues like Gaza? What tonight underscores, though, is music’s unparalleled capacity to unify. This evening, inside the Hordern Pavilion, 7,000 people shed their worldly concerns, letting their hair down to dance and revel as though free from the burdens of the globe. And that is the raw, undeniable power of music.

And, yes, he did perform it.

Check out our gallery below.

Macklemore’s tour will move on to Melbourne, Darwin, Brisbane and Perth next. Tickets HERE.

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